Sunday, 23 November 2014

Ted gets in a curdle

… curdled milk that is ... yoghurt.  Something hit me the other day, something that I had singularly failed to notice before, and that’s just how much chiller real estate is allocated to yoghurt in supermarkets.  Far more it seems to me than any of its milk product cousins like butter and cheese.

Who is eating all this yoghurt? Well, everyone, everywhere. It seems that yoghurt is indeed a global phenomenon, and has been since ancient times. We eat it in hundreds of different dishes, we drink it, and even lather it on our face in pursuit of beautiful skin. Depending on where you live, your yoghurt could be made from the milk of cows, goats, sheep, water buffalo, horses, camels or even yaks.

Like many things the production of yoghurt wasn’t really industrialised until the early 1900’s. In 1919 a chap called Isaac Carasso set up business in Barcelona and named the business after his son “little Daniel”, hence Danone, or as it later became known in the US, Dannon. In 1933 the Czech’s in Prague got in on the act by adding jam fruit to plain yoghurt. So with all this yoghurt around, how on earth do you make your yoghurt stand out so people will choose it over all the others and pop it in their trolley. I am sure it’s a complex formula, and one that I think these folks have got right. 

The Collective Dairy have taken the approach of making some (sort of) traditional flavours and also some not so run of the mill, in their limited edition gourmet range. I have eaten passionfruit, coconut & lime, banoffi, blood(y) orange, raspberry & amaretto, blackcurrant & beetroot, spiced pumpkin, and now the best of all … “Xmas Pud”.  It really does taste like traditional Christmas pudding, with all that lovely fruit mince of sultanas, spices and orange peel sitting in little puddles among the thick and creamy yoghurt ... mmmmm … and the second best bit is knowing that yoghurt is a very healthy food and really good for our digestion.  So good is this stuff that I paired it with my favourite Xmas Pud beverage – Pedro Ximenez (Hem N ezze)  – a sweet luscious, raisiny, sticky, dark sherry, that’s Christmas Pudding in a glass ... 

Saturday, 22 November 2014

The Gunmakers

For over 300 years proof-testing gun barrels for safety has been carried out here by members of the gunmakers livery company.  Gun barrels that pass the test for safety and integrity are stamped with the code of the company.

Friday, 21 November 2014

On The Bus

Rubbish on the buses and underground has been a wee project I have been dipping into from time to time.  Not an easy one to photograph, especially when trying to capture the litter creation in action. Hence why I have a small DSLM camera in my handbag or pocket that I can whip out without being noticed.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Girl's Shopping

Where girl's really like to get their knickers.  The sexy stores and the pretty underwear.  Yeah sure.  But everyday stuff... We all go to M&S (Marks & Spencer) that's what we wear in the gym, to work and everyday.  The stats prove it!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Tower of London’s poppy tribute

The Tower of London art installation entitled Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Redby artist Paul Cummins was created to commemorate 100 years since the start of World War 1.

The work consists of 888,246 ceramic poppies each of which represents a fallen soldier in the Great War and will be on display until the end of November when approximately approximately 8,000 volunteers will dismantle it.

Tribute to the fallen

Across the internet and news channels, companies like McCarthy & Stone have been reporting on how the Tower of London Remembers and  how the artwork is one of the most popular public art installations ever to be seen in the capital.

Once the piece has been dismantled, it will continue its journey around the UK until parts of the installation reaches its permanent homes in the Imperial War Museums in both London and Manchester.

The title of the piece comes from a moving part of a Will written by a dead WW1 serviceman: “the blood swept lands and seas of red where angels fear to tread”.

The installation has already received 5 million visitors, and this number is set to grow.

A moving art work

This year is the centenary of the start of World War 1 and the 70th anniversary of the D Day landings in 1944. With war on many people’s minds, the last British forces leaving Afghanistan, hostilities in Ukraine and uncertainty in Syria and Iraq, the annual remembrance anniversary has commanded more support than ever before.

The National Gallery was another site in London where many flocked to observe the traditional two-minute silence, of the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month.

13-year-old schoolboy cadet, Harry Hayes laid the final poppy at the Tower of London work. His Great Great Great Uncle died in France during the 1st World War.

The importance of remembrance in London

London is already home to the Cenotaph and other Great War memorials, but the installation at the Tower has focussed the thoughts of the world on the war that was supposed to end all wars.

The poppies were sold for £25.00 each and the money raised will go to help service charities including the British Legion. The BBC suggests that the sales could raise £15 million overall.

Poppies are used to symbolise the remembrance of the victims of war as they grew in abundance across the battlefields of Flanders. As spectators in London remembered the dead on the 11 November, poppy petals were showered on the heads of mourners at the Belgium based Menin gate.

Both young and old have paid tribute this November to the sacrifice made by the many young people during the Great War.

Monday, 17 November 2014


The fountains were installed at Marble Arch in 1961; but it was after the revamp of the corner in 2009, leading up to the London Olympics, (who could forget those) that the area and the fountains took on a new life and are worthy of a visit or a place to sit and eat your lunch. Watch out for those pesky pigeons though.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Ted is amaized ..

Yes truly I was, and I bet you will be too.  Since the “Kings of Crispland” I have been asked  “why can’t we do a tasting?” by lots of people … ok one person, who shall remain nameless (Mandy).  Popcorn was suggested, so a deal was struck, and a venue and volunteers conscripted to the task.

As usual beforehand I ran search engines red hot in a bit of research. There is so much stuff out there about popcorn, there’s even Encyclopedia Popcornica (yes I know that sounds quite suspect but it’s not). All corn is "genus" maize and popcorn is both a type of maize and the name of the finished product. Of all of the types of maize apparently popcorn is the only one that really pops. The popcorn world is beset by claim, and counter claim, but they all agree that contrary to popular belief, it was not "discovered" by the native American Indians after winter storage of maize in the hot desert sands.

 It was in fact first “popped” many centuries earlier by the Aztecs who ate it, made jewellery out of it, and even fired it in raw form at the invading Spanish conquistadors.

It was in the US of course that it’s production was first commercialised around the 1890’s.  It shot to popularity in the 1930’s during the great depression after WWI and sugar rationing, as it was really cheap to produce, a great source of protein (even if they didn’t know this then) and most importantly, even the poor could afford it. Today 320 million Americans eat more than the body weight of 1% of their population in popcorn tons every year.

Great background for the “blind” popcorn tasting introduction speech. The (by now very bored and very hungry) tasters were asked to guess the flavours of each of the 10 popcorns and record their guesses, and the taste and texture ratings.  I had a scoring sheet devised by a super computer and enlisted an accountant friend to do the tallying and auditing of scores.
The panel drank champagne (yes really) and beer with the popcorn, but, mostly forgot to rate it, so busy were they trying to figure out the popcorn flavours.  Favourites were telling ... a la (almost) naturale ... salty, sweet and salty, and sweet.

The only “flavour” to garner any appreciation was cinnamon.  General consensus was that most of the “flavours” tasted synthetic and that Worcestershire sauce combined with fiery sun-dried tomato sauce flavoured popcorn has no place on planet earth.  

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Man and his Cat

It is not unusual to see people carting their belonging around with them on the streets of London. Not too many have a proud possession like this one though.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Thursday, 13 November 2014

A Tour Through Time

A peek into a London Street nearly a hundred years ago.  A few weeks back I showed you an extraordinary model of Kings Cross and the surrounding areas, (see the original post here). I then showed you  then and now pictures of the funeral directors.  Post here and here.  Today we are visiting the rest of the street.  Today is as it was and tomorrow will be as it is in 2014.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Golden Diva

She greets you upstairs at the Barbican.  Suspended from the ceiling, yet suprisingly easy to miss.  I know, you wouldn't think so would you? 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

A Wee Bit of the Country in the City

An old fashioned bike outside the oh so smart store selling country tweed clothing.  Don your britches and cap and cycle down a country lane.  Oh so English.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Ted and Turi

... it can only be Italian .. can’t it?.  Yes you got it .. it's Grappa, but don't go away there's more to come .. Grappa and it's European colleagues are known as a Pomace brandy made from the  “leftovers” of wine making, via distillation. It’s thought distillation dates back as far as 3000 BC in the far and middle east, but it didn’t reach Europe until as late as 6000 AD. The “fruits” of distillation remained pretty much medicinal in purpose until the 16th century though until the Dutch began making gin, the French joined in with cognac, and the Scottish got started on whisky, and we fell upon it all with glee, as the "elixir of life". The USA was on the bandwagon by the late 18th century, and in no time at all the "cocktail" was born.

However, while it may have been the grappa trolley that kept me at Enoteca Turi, it was not what drew me there in the first place. Hidden in plain view on a corner of the Putney High Street, this little oasis is one of the city’s best kept secrets, unless of course you are Italian. Apparently it's also especially popular with visiting Italian winemakers, possibly due to its fantastic Italian wine list .. as well as the food. So how come you know about it Ted? … well, it was the birthday of my friend who lives over that way and shall of course remain anonymous (Gill) so off we trotted for lunch with her equally anonymous hubby (David). 

Gill and I choose our courses from the menu and David (being of Italian heritage) choose a whole new take on “off menu”. He gave the MaĆ®tre’d a few clues as to his food and wine flavour profile and the parts of Italy he liked best, and then put his wining and dining entirely in the hands of the staff.  Such a brilliant idea … wish I’d thought of it!! Naturally they delivered with stars. We had the works from chestnut soup, Jerusalem artichoke flan with a soft truffled egg, warm seafood salad, delicious pastas, followed by venison ragout, pheasant, and monkfish with clams, all with matched wines. I was back in Italy with every mouthful of every course.

Around us, large, extended, Italian families enjoyed their multiple courses with audible appreciation. I remembered that Italians will travel many many miles for a good meal ... I only had to go to Putney.
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